Jordan is a small but important country in the Eastern Mediterranean area that exemplifies many of the problems, as well as the promise, of all countries in the area. The population is divided fairly evenly between native Jordanians of Bedouin and rural stock, and urban Palestinians who are ultimately refugees. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees have also flooded the country. The economy is developing but still has major problems. Water shortages are severe. Understanding Jordan is a good way to begin to understand the entire region. You will be exposed to a quasi-democratic country with some of the trappings and rhetoric of democracy but not always its substance, a country currently in a state of enormous flux and facing critical issues of succession, inclusion, and legitimacy. You will be exposed to Christian Arabs of various types, a multifaceted Islam in a variety of settings and manifestations, and to a political and religious discourse that is fascinating and unfamiliar. Most importantly, you will have many opportunities to get to know kind and resilient people, come to understand their concerns, views and ways of living, and learn a great deal about yourself.
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